Jesse Chavez may be the Oakland Athletics best pitcher. The best pitching anecdote in the MLB, that nobody outside of the Oakland A’s fan base is talking about.
I said it. Best Pitcher.
Not the best reliever, not the best set-up man, the best pitcher, so far. The season is still young, and the MLB is the definition of a marathon when it comes to professional sports, BUT who saw this coming? What Chavez has done is nothing short of stunning. One cannot fathom the pressure put on starting pitchers as it is, but think about having never been a starter, never even considered an elite reliever. A solid reliever at best, playing with his fifth team in seven years. Two injuries in the offseason within the same week (Jarrod Parker & A.J. Griffin), shaped an inevitable starting role for Jesse Chavez. Four starts and 26 innings pitched later, Chavez is leading the Athletics starters in ERA (1.38) and strikeouts (28). Throughout his career Chavez’s average length of outing per game has been 1.2 innings, this season his average length is 6.5 innings. In the pitching world, that could not be more on opposite ends of the spectrum. The most innings Chavez had ever pitched in a season was 67.1, and has already thrown 42% (28 innings) of that in the first three weeks of this season.
The likes of Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray make it doubtful for many to jump on the bandwagon, as Kazmir and Gray have yet to post losing contest’s in their own right. However, let us not forget that those two are starters, and have been starters. Especially Kazmir, now in his tenth season as a starter. Gray is young of course, but has been brought up and groomed through the minor leagues as a starter. Gray has always been expected, to be a starter. I cannot stress enough the change of role Chavez has taken on, that should make him so venerated as a newfound starter.
So far everything has been up, up and more up for Jesse Chavez and there are surely to be some down’s on the horizon. That’s pitching, heck that’s baseball, but I can’t help but be impressed and more importantly can only think of one question.
Can he keep this up?